The 56th Evac Hospital: Letters of a WWII Army Doctor

Lawrence D. Collins, Author, Carlo W. D'Este, Introduction by University of North Texas Press $29.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-929398-83-9
Collins's letters to his wife, mother and sister record his experiences with the Army's ``Baylor unit,'' a medical team mobilized out of Baylor Medical School in Dallas during WWII that cared for GIs in the North African and Italian theaters from 1942 to '45. His somewhat bland letters hide from his family the fact that he was in a hot combat zone; for several weeks, his tent hospital was stationed on the Anzio beachhead, from which Collins wrote: ``Be reassured that the jerries respect our red crosses and that their marksmanship is good, so we're always safe.'' The most harrowing passages in the letters have to do with details of surgery performed on wounded men, especially an account of a quadruple amputation. A highlight of Collins's final months of overseas service was an audience with Pope Pius: ``He had the personality of a most excellent politician.'' Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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